designer spotlight : Loved to Death

Audra and Loved to Death’s approach to the macabre is one that truly offers a new perspective on wearable art. Perhaps the Victorian post-mortem practices and the term Memento Mori has never truly ended. San Francisco’s Loved to Death takes the art of taxidermy to a chilling, yet positively sublime atmosphere and reminds us all that we too are animals and must respect the lives of every creature.

photographer : Jennifer Garcia
makeup artist : Sam I Am…
hair stylist : Mikel Sessions
lighting tech : Armando Esquivel
model : Wednesday Mourning
interview by Vanity Kills

“Edgy” and “decadent” are two of the most exhausted adjectives when it comes to words used commonly to describe jewelry, art and clothing. The mundane is dressed up in pompous declarations of grandeur all too often to obscure the fact that there’s nothing special about a few pearls dangling from a chain, or jeans with embellished metal details. The taxidermy masterpieces by Audra Dance of Loved to Death certainly do fit the criteria of creations one can easily ascribe the characteristic of being both “edgy” and “decadent” to. Alas, resorting to using these clichéd terms in relation to Loved to Death would do grave injustice to Audra’s work. Despite the fact that her necklaces assembled from 24 karat gold enhanced mink skulls essentially personify decadence in the flesh (or rather bone).

Still, the bones only manage to scratch the surface. Beneath which one can catch a glimpse into the secret lives of rodents in the afterlife. Where love, life and death lie intertwined, frozen in time and preserved for eternity.

Loved to Death’s masterfully constructed, statement-making accessories hold the power to draw all eyes onto the wearer. How would one successfully integrate one of your bold pieces, such as the Domestic Parakeet Wing Cameo Necklace, into their existing wardrobe?

Audra Dance : I think the trick would be to let the piece be the main attraction, don’t have too much going on with any patterned pieces. The bird wing piece in particular, unless it is worn with a complimentary color, black is the way to go with the wing pieces.

What is the secret to rockin’ a head once attached to a living bird while maintaining an air of sophistication?

AD : As for ‘maintaining an air of sophistication’, that comes from within, you either have it or don’t.

read the full feature in the October/November 2010 Issue

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